November 25, 2013
Recently a woman stopped by the office with a small bag of items she hoped we could bury at the gravesite of her Great-Great Grandmother who was buried in Elmwood in 1960. Fighting back tears, she explained the reason for her request.
In February of 1901, her Great-Great Grandparents were living in St. Louis and lost their first born child, a son named for his father, Roy. The child had just turned 6. The child’s mother, Jeanette, packed up a few items to remind her of her departed son: some toys, a pair of christening shoes, a mitten and a sprig of fern probably taken from a funeral wreath. She carefully packed these things away and moved on with her life. Jeannette raised more children, moved to Little Rock and then Memphis, grew old, died and was buried in Elmwood next to her husband. The child was rarely, if ever, mentioned over the next 112 years. The stored items quietly passed down thru the next three generations. Until now.
A Great-Great Granddaughter found the items while going through her mother’s things. Here was a handful of items bringing home a poignant reminder of a mother’s grief for a small child taken long before his time. The woman feared that eventually someone was eventually going to come into possession of the items, have no idea of what they were, and that they’d end up discarded without care. These items symbolized her Great-Great Grandmother’s tragic loss and grief and she felt that they needed to be reunited with Jeannette once more.
Elmwood was contacted and asked if the items could be buried in Jeannette’s plot, and that’s what we’ve done. A mother and her only son’s possessions together again, united for all eternity. Keeping family memories alive is what Elmwood is about. We honor and welcome that responsibility.